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How To Clean Solar Panels for Maximum Energy Output?

Photovoltaic system for solar energy

A global increase in power costs has compelled businesses and individuals to look for alternate power sources. Solar panels, in this case, are valuable as a pocket-friendly way to generate power without significantly impacting the climate. And despite their relatively low initial price tag, they can last for 25 to 30 years, especially with proper care. This means there is plenty of time for those making the transition to solar power to enjoy the returns on the initial investment.

Like every power solution, however, solar panels do need regular maintenance to function at their best. Luckily, taking care of solar panels shouldn’t require too much time or effort. Read on for a guide to efficient and effective cleaning and maintenance of solar panels in 2024.

Table of Contents
Global scale of the solar panel cleaning sector
Tips for proper maintenance of solar panels
6 ways to clean solar panels

Global scale of the solar panel cleaning sector

Sunset near small solar panels

In 2022, the worldwide market for cleaning solar panels was valued at about US$ 1.2 billion. Experts predict it to increase to around US$ 1.8 billion by 2030. This will record growth at an average rate of approximately 5.5% per year from 2023 to 2030.

A notable trend in the solar panel cleaning equipment market is the increasing preference for sustainable products. Another trend that is on the rise in this industry is the use of technology. Automation in solar panel cleaning reduces reliance on human intervention, which makes the process a whole lot easier and more effective.

Asia Pacific is expected to lead the solar panel cleaning market in the forecast period. Furthermore, countries like India and China are intensely investing in renewable energy technology to cut carbon emissions from conventional energy production. Europe is also expected to hold a high market share in this sector due to favorable economic policies by the government and temperature fluctuations.

Tips for proper maintenance of solar panels

Man cleaning a solar panel

Dust, debris, and bird droppings can gather on solar panels over time. If there is too much accumulation, this may affect the efficiency of the panels. That’s where proper cleaning and maintenance of solar panels becomes important. 

Here are some tips to remember when dealing with solar panel maintenance:

Monitor the structure

Solar panels on a rooftop

Watch the panels and ensure that the inverter is flashing a green light. If it isn’t, you are losing your money as you aren’t compensating for the electricity in use.

Also, keep a record of the energy production. Schedule a time and write energy production at a particular time daily. Mark the dates when the weather is cloudy. It goes without saying that energy production will fluctuate. However, this documentation gives an idea about the potential and output of your solar panels.

Follow the safety protocols

Solar technician installing a solar panel

Manufacturers often provide guidelines for cleaning solar systems. This is necessary because some panels have special coatings or materials that require special care. Also, cleaning during the early morning or late afternoon is generally better. Cleaning in direct sunlight can cause water or cleaning agents to evaporate faster. This can leave stains or residue on the panels.

If cleaning from a ladder, use caution to avoid falls. A telescopic pole with a microfiber cloth attached at one end can help to clean panels while standing on the ground. Note that using a pressure washer to clean solar panels can damage the panels and their seals. Stick to a gentle stream of water from a hose or a spraying tool.

Post clean-up inspection

Man facing a solar panel

Perform a visual inspection of the panels to check for any damage. Any panel damage, like cracks or scratches, can reduce energy production. It is wise to contact a professional in case of any noticeable problems.

Addressing small issues before they become major problems can save time and money in the long run. Not to forget that resolving problems is also good from a safety perspective. For example, a cracked panel may expose live electrical components, creating a potential hazard.

Adhering to these tips is mandatory to prolong the lifespan of the solar panel system. With these in play, the structure continues to generate clean energy while helping users save what they would otherwise have to pay if using conventional energy sources.

6 ways to clean solar panels

Two solar technicians installing a solar panel

As mentioned earlier, the demand for solar panels has escalated over the past few years. In fact, the average search volume for solar panels amounted to 1 million searches per month over the past year. This reveals a huge demand for this renewable energy source. 

Naturally, with more installations, a greater number of people are interested in ways to clean solar panels. Luckily, there are many ways to do that. From manual cleaning to automated tools, there are a range of methods to remove grime and dirt from the panels to ensure optimal performance.

The most popular of these are:

1. Water and sponge

  • Blend a small amount of detergent or mild soap in water.
  • Gently scrub the surface of the panels with a sponge or brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove water or residue of cleaning agents.

2. Automatic cleaning tools

  • Look for automatic or semi-automatic robots designed for solar panel cleaning.
  • Invest in tech-intensive cleaning tools that are pocket-friendly and efficient.
  • Program the system to clean the panels at regular intervals.

3. Waterless vibration

A project funded by NASA in the US has launched a waterless vibration method to clean solar panels.

  • Attach a DC motor to the back of the panels. It can be tuned to cause vertical vibrations.
  • Set the vibration settings after reading the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If required, repeat vibration in areas with persistent stains.

4. Solar panel cleaning kits

  • Purchase a solar panel cleaning kit after carefully checking its contents and intended application. Some may have a brush, a sponge, or a squeegee.
  • Follow the instructions on the kit for desired results.

The average monthly search volume for these kits amounted to 2400 last year. This number shows that there is a growing demand for them as they contain all that is needed to leave the panels shiny and highly functional!

5. DIY cleaning solution

  • Create a cleaning solution with water and vinegar. This mixture can break down dust and mineral deposits.
  • Mix water and vinegar in a ratio of 3:1
  • Apply it to the panels with a sponge or a soft brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly.

6. Professional cleaners

Hire professionals if the panels are large or hard to clean. Some busy home and company owners may also seek assistance from cleaning companies.

Allow them to perform the task as they like. Experts usually have all the tools and knowledge needed to clean the panels safely.

The frequency of cleaning the panels may vary from system to system. Check with the manufacturer before choosing the frequency. That said, a good rule of thumb would be to clean solar panels once or twice yearly. Assessing factors like geographic location, pitch of the roof, and landscaping can help with better scheduling.


Solar technician checking a solar panel

Maintenance of solar panels is a prerequisite if owners want them to function at their best. Physical limitations or time constraints may restrict people from cleaning the panels in some cases. Luckily, there are many ways to keep solar panels in top condition to ensure they soak as much sun as possible. For more, explore the vast collection of solar panel cleaning options at Alibaba.com.

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